Conference Speakers 2018

Pre Conference Workshop

Matt Walters


From scientific photography to communication design, book publishing to school outreach, Matt has a unique and wide ranging role as the science communicator for Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury. He teaches and supports students and staff to effectively communicate their ideas to their selected audience(s) across a range of media from image to text, presentation to poster. 

Keynote Speakers

Kate Hannah


Kate Hannah has a Master of Arts (2004) from Waikato University in 19th Century American Literary Culture. Her principal research area is the historiography of the history of science, with a focus on the cultures and subcultures of science, gender in science history, and narrative and complexity. She holds dual roles at Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems and networks – executive manager and associate investigator; she is a research fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland, course convener of Science Scholars 101, and a Te Pūnaha Matatini-funded PhD candidate in the Science and Society Group at Victoria University Wellington, investigating novel hybrid methodologies for the historiography of science. Basically, she’s a historian in a Physics department.

Merryn McKinnon


Merryn started out as a marine scientist, but she soon realised that talking to people about her science could do a lot more for conservation than her project would. She moved to science communication and has stayed there ever since. Merryn has slimed presidents, made children laugh and created programs and events to change ideas, inspire interest in science and to support pursuit of science careers.

She is now a lecturer and researcher in science communication at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University. Her teaching and research focuses on helping the scientists, public health workers and policy makers of tomorrow to communicate clearly and with influence, and identifying ways of creating meaningful public engagement. 

Merryn’s research explores perceptions of science, and of those communicating their science. Diversity of disciplines and ideas is important in a society, but only if they are given equal visibility and voice. Her work aims to contribute tangible mechanisms to allow that diversity to flourish. 

Merryn believes that communication is an essential part of the scientific process and can create change which benefits us all.

Dan Hikuroa


Dan is Senior Lecturer, Māori Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland and a Principal Investigator for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Te Pūnaha Matatini National Centres of Research Excellence.

From 2011 to 2016 he was the Research Director at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence

He is an established world expert on integrating indigenous knowledge and science and has undertaken many projects including co-writing the 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf Environment Report, geothermal developments, planning river and catchment restorations, co-writing iwi environmental management plans, Independent Review Panel member of Sea-Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning for the Hauraki Gulf.

He is interested in the way science and mātauranga are used to realise great outcomes and solve challenges facing communities and the nation, from flax roots to policy. Dan has published on the responsibility of scientists to society and is increasingly communicating with various audiences through television, radio, documentaries, print media and social media on kaupapa ranging future of our seas, future of food, voice of the river, water and resilience to natures challenges.

Tze Ming Mok

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Tze Ming Mok is writer and socio-political commentator. She is an associate of Aotearoa New Zealand public policy think-tank The Workshop, and a council member of the Population Association of New Zealand. She previously worked as a researcher for Britain’s largest independent social research institute NatCen, and in policy for the NZ Ministry of Social Development.

Tze Ming Mok was worked in media and communications for Amnesty International and the UN, among others.

Workshop Speakers

Anne-Marie Chisnall

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Anne-Marie believes that clear communication in government and business helps people make important financial, health, and legal decisions — and helps the business balance sheet in all sorts of ways. She’s an advocate for the WriteMark, a quality mark promoting clarity and fairness in customer relationships. A plain language consultant at Write for 13 years, she’s also been deputy chief executive for the last three.

Kathryn Reeves

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Kathryn enables people to articulate their ideas and achieve their goals through clear, compelling communication. She’s a consultant and product developer at Write, holds an honours degree in English, and has expertise in content strategy, training and coaching, business writing, and information design.

Panel Speakers

Lynda Chanwai-Earle


Lynda is a fourth-generation Chinese New Zealander with a background in the arts and public broadcasting.

From her debut poetry collection Honeypants in 1994 to her controversial 2016 play Man in a Suitcase, Lynda’s award-winning poems and plays have been published, produced and toured in national festivals and abroad.

Currently Researcher for the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Asia Media Centre, Lynda’s work as a documentary maker and Podcast Producer in public broadcasting spans almost two decades. This includes being a journalist for the television programme Asia Down Under and a long-term features producer and presenter of Voices at RNZ, which focuses on sharing stories from local-born and immigrant ethnic minority communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Lynda’s stories on the Asia Media Centre website:

Twitter: @LyndaChanwaiEar

Kim Baker Wilson


Kim is a senior member of TVNZ’s newsroom, charged with planning and coordinating news coverage and helping to shape what people see and hear.

Previously Kim was News Director at NZME radio guiding and mentoring journalists, a senior reporter and producer for Radio New Zealand and Sky News, and a founding staffer at RadioLIVE.

Kim’s most popular story on TVNZ:

Twitter: @kimbakerwilson

Carmen Parahi


Carmen (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Hine, Rongowhakaata) is the National Correspondent at Stuff, where she covers social and Māori issues.

Since 2001, Carmen has worked her way from print to television, with stories being featured on Marae, One News, 3 News, Campbell Live, Te Karere, Te Kāea and Native Affairs, at which she was Producer before joining Stuff.

Carmen has also worked at APTN (Aboriginal Peoples TV Network) in Canada, and taken trips to Australia, Europe, Japan, and Fiji during the Bainimarama military regime to report on Indigenous and social issues there.

Carmen’s stories on the Stuff website:

Twitter: @CarmenParahi

David Robie

David is a professor of journalism and communication studies at AUT and the founding director of the Pacific Media Centre, an initiative seeking to stimulate research into contemporary Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and culture production.

David has spent more than two decades as an award-winning journalist covering the Asia-Pacific region, reporting on post-colonial coups, Indigenous struggles for independence, and environmental and developmental issues.

He is now editor of the Pacific Journalism Review (PJR) – the only research journal to investigate media issues in the South Pacific, Asia-Pacific, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand – and publishes the high profile Asia Pacific Report. He also manages Pacific Media Watch, a digital research of daily dispatches about Pacific journalism and media, ethics, and professionalism.

Video about the Pacific Media Centre:
Pacific Media Centre website:

Twitter: @DavidRobie

Henrietta Bollinger

Henrietta (Etta) is a writer and disability advocate. She has written plays and poems for many years, with her most recent play, 26 Cats Destroy the Patriarchy, being featured for Fringe 2017. She uses her writing to inspire people to think differently about disability, through representing people beyond the stereotypes.

Etta also has a background in sociology and in 2014 she carried out research investigating the experience of young disabled people in sexuality education. She applies her sociological knowledge to her writing by exploring the complexities of people via her characters, and revealing the possibilities that open when these people are understood.

Etta’s latest piece, on The Spinoff:

Twitter: @ettainc